Happy New Year from a blustery Lanzarote

better-for-xmas

Wow.  What a windy time we have had over Christmas and New Year.  Nevertheless Santa found us and we enjoyed a night at anchor with a ‘Pirate Ship’ for a neighbour

eye-of-the-wind

The weather started to turn during Christmas week.  We started with 3 great sailing days, and spent the third night at anchor with Eye of the wind for Neighbours.  But, on the fourth morning,(christmas eve) we were woken up with the waves starting to build around us.  We managed a couple hours sailing in the shelter of the strait before heading back into Marina Rubicon.  On Christmas day the wind shifted to the south east and howled, and it didn’t get any better on Boxing day.   Luckily we were based in Marina Rubicon, where there is lots to do, and our guests spent their time, swimming, walking, sunbathing and just chilling.  We enjoyed a full turkey dinner on Christmas day – and walked it off on Boxing day.

We had a family of 4 on board as well as a group of 2, and despite the weather, we were pleased to receive the following comments in an e mail

We all had a super time on Velvet Lady and I’d especially like to thank you for your expertise, patience and enthusiasm. You made me feel so much more relaxed about sailing and you both inspired a confidence I hadn’t felt before. Thank you so much.

Statistically, the wind blows from the north or east in Lanzarote and hardly ever from the south east, but this week the statistics have failed us.  The wind stayed in the south east for the first 5 days of our New Year trip, with the waves breaking over the breakwater on 2 of the days and we only managed to get out sailing on the last day.  The wind eased and backed, the waves died down and the sun shone. It was sheer bliss and all smiles to get out on the water.

new-year-sailign

Our guests have left now, and I’ve been studying the forecast as it is once again blowing from the south east.  Its forecast to continue for the next 5 days!  Our next trip is not until 22 January so fingers crossed it has given up by then.

All of the itineraries for our trips stress that sailing is subject to weather conditions.  When the wind is too strong or the waves are too big we just cannot go, it’s a bit like going on a skiing holiday with no snow.  You have to find something else to do to entertain yourselves.  If we know there is bad weather coming, we try and make sure we are tied up somewhere there are other things to do, but this might not always be the case and it is possible that we could find ourselves stuck at anchor  in bad weather.

SONY DSC

You could become very good at scrabble!

A great start to the New Year

Happy New Year everyone

fabulous start to new year

What a fabulous start to the New Year – sailing into the sunset at Graciosa on New Years Day with a clear blue sky. Long may it last.

We had a great trip for the last of 2015 and after our special dinner on New Years Eve we brought in 2016 in style with Spanish Cava and Big Ben on the radio. With fireworks going off all around and people on other boats celebrating there was a great atmosphere.

The first day of the year was our day to sail from Arrecife to Graciosa – usually a dead beat to windward but the wind gods were kind and we managed most of it on a reach. We shared the anchorage with 2 other boats but by the following day we were on our own in the beautiful Playa Francesca.

As well as circumnavigating Lanzarote this week, we circumnavigated Graciosa as well – just not enough wind to get us up to Alegranza. A target for the next trip perhaps.

We’ve had a busy few days since the New Year trip – Velvet Lady is now out of the water in Puerto Calero and ready for her new ‘paint job’. She will be in the yard until 8 February, after which we will have 3 more trips with the option to circumnavigate Lanzarote. Still a few spaces on 18th January and 10th March (28th February is full already) before we head off north for the summer.

Hope you can join us – but if not, we want to take this opportunity to wish everyone

Fair Winds and Great Sailing throughout 2016

Merry Christmas Everybody

As usual we were in Lanzarote for Christmas – and this year we were lucky enough to enjoy temperatures that are much warmer than usual. We have been sailing in shorts and t shirts without the need to wear fleeces or long trousers – even in the evenings.

We had great wind nearly all week giving us some fantastic sailing – and we were spoilt with sea life. Dolphins every day – and 2 separate sightings of whales. Wow

dolphins alongside

We made it all the way north to the island of Graciosa, but didn’t complete our circumnavigation – gales forecast for the end of the trip made us choose to sail back down the east side of the island and enjoy some flat water reaching instead.

We arrived back in Marina Rubicon mid afternoon Christmas day and so Santa was finally able to find us. 1800 was time for Aperitifs and presents. Christine introduced us to a new style Bucks Fizz – Champagne, Orange Juice and a huge slug of Cointreau, tasty.  We all enjoyed a large glass of this whilst we opened our presents.   There was a large selection – Lanzarote T shirts, mugs with Velvet Lady on, mouse mats with Velvet Lady on (both from one of our enterprising guests) and Bombay Gin, Tonic and Limes all wrapped up in tin foil.  Unwrapping the gifts was great fun – along with pulling the christmas crackers, wearing the hats and telling the silly jokes.

Boxing day,  as predicted there were gales with the waves breaking over the breakwater so instead of sailing we spent a relaxing day in port and watched the start of the Sydney Hobart race instead.

 

 

Happy 2015

sunset on rias trip

We have spent the last 8 winters operating out of Marina Rubicon but have never spent a New Years Eve here. This year we chose to change this and have our New Year Party in Marina Rubicon. It was great – as the Spanish do we stayed on board and had a rather grand meal. We then played party games until midnight. Celebrated the New Year with Cava and Sparklers, watched loads of fireworks up and down the coast and then the guests headed to the local bars to join the parties that started at 00.15

The aim of this week, and in fact all of our weeks in Lanzarote, was to circumnavigate Lanzarote and visit La Graciosa. This aim of course is weather dependent. We had a great sail on New Years day, heading north to Puerto Calero. We had another great sail on the 2nd from Puerto Calero to the new marina in Arrecife – but then the wind defeated us – the yellow sand and strong SE wind was back. Instead of sailing we spent a day in Arrecife and took the opportunity to do some sightseeing. There are some unusual features here on Lanzarote – when have you ever had chance to see a house built in Lava bubbles!

house in lava bubble comp

After days of windward sailing heading north we surfed downwind back to the anchorage at Playa Papagayo – gybing into the sunset. For our last day we sailed across to Fuerteventura, around the island of Lobos and back to Marina Rubicon. This was a great way to experience and practice sailing on all points of sail – close reach, beam reach, broad reach – gybing in a narrow channel to avoid other boats and shallows, broad reach, beam reach, close reach and finally tacking to get back. We do not aim to run courses but often have plenty of time to explain individual items on the RYA syllabus in more detail. We had a recently qualified day skipper this week who was very keen to ask questions and get more practice. We had masterclasses in sail trim, points of sail, how to tack and gybe, weather, collision regulations and more. Always happy to help.

We will be sailing in the sunshine here in Lanzarote until the middle of March but there are only 6 spaces left. 2 on the trip 1 – 8 March and 4 on the trip 12 – 19 March.   Below is the forecast for January, by March the days will be longer and the weather even warmer.  Why not join us for some sailing in the sunshine.

sunny lanzarote

Our Christmas Marathon!

playa dorada2Playa Dorada – a great place to spend Christmas in the sunshine

We’ve just waved goodbye to a fabulous group of people who spent Christmas week with us.  5 individuals who very quickly melded together as a great team.

The forecast for the week was south easterly winds at the beginning – easterly winds on christmas day and then north easterly on boxing day.  All looked great for a circumnavigation of Lanzarote and christmas day in Graciosa.  We had some great sailing on the first 3 days of the week and then set off on Christmas Eve  towards Graciosa.  We made great time and were heading towards the anchorage just  before 4 in the afternoon.  Then it started, the sky darkened, the wind shifted and the sea filled with white horses.  30 – 40 knots of wind blowing straight in to the anchorage.  There was no way we were going to be anchoring in that.  What do you do in a  situation like this – keep the boat safe – which meant keep going and  look for a more sheltered anchorage.  With the gusts of wind reaching 47 knots this meant a bonus night sail back to Papagayo.  We eventually dropped the anchor at 11.30pm.  We have since found out that the Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria was meant to be visiting Lanzarote on Christmas Eve and considered it too unsafe to try and berth in Arrecife so they too stayed at sea!

Christmas morning after breakfast we decided we were all too tired to go sailing and so headed into Marina Rubicon to spend a quiet day on the beach at Playa Dorada.  After a couple of beers at the local bar it was back to Velvet Lady for Aperitifs and presents at 7pm followed by a full traditional Christmas dinner.  To make washing up easier for this – the messiest meal of the year – we line all of our cooking tins with foil trays so they can be put straight into the bin. Then on with the party  – we were still singing and dancing in the cockpit at 2am, trying to keep the noise down and not disturb the neighbours.  Good job it is only once a year.

A bit of a late start on boxing day – some strong coffee and then a quick sail to blast the cobwebs away.  The log at the end of this trip read 170nm.

Late afternoon in Marina Rubicon, just winding down from our sail, we thought we were seeing double, or even treble as the local band marched past us, all dressed as Santas.   What a great end to a great week.

santa band

After the refit – ready for the Bay of Biscay.

velvet lady ready to go againVelvet Lady looking lovely alongside in Plymouth

Well, thats it.  Major work over for another year.  This year has been quite an epic.  We lifted the mast out in QAB to inspect for faults and completely change all the standing and running rigging.  This is considered routine maintenance after 90,000 miles and once the rig was out Velvet Lady went into a shed in Plymouth Yacht Haven.  Here we removed all the chain plates – (the bits that the standing rigging attach to) to check, and after 28 years were pleased to find they were still in perfect nick.  Whilst the chain plates were out we removed all of the saloon windows and window frames and replaced with new before replacing some of the wood surround and revarnishing.  She looks a million dollars.  They were the big jobs – we also replaced the aft G and T seats, redid the caulking in the cockpit, replaced one of the loos, replaced the duck boards in the showers, cut new carpet, and to round it off replaced the antifoul and polished the topsides.  Our MCA surveyor came along and gave us a clean bill of health so we are ready for the off.

Biscay first – think we’ll wait a couple of days for a weather window, but the forecast for our Spanish Rias trip is looking good.  Then south to Madeira and further south to Lanzarote just in time for December – Fully Booked all the way.  Our first places are in December and there are 4 left on the real deal sailing holiday starting on 7 December.  £675 per person fully inclusive on board for 7 nights.  Circumnavigate Lanzarote in the sunshine.  I have just looked and flights are still available for about £60 return see www.jetcost.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net

We will also be offering this price on our trips in January, February and March but places are booking up fast.